(BANGKOK): Thailand has recorded about 200 cases of Zika since January, the health ministry said on Tuesday (Sep 13), making it a country with one of the highest numbers of confirmed cases in the region.
It was the first time Thailand's health ministry has confirmed the number of Zika cases this year.
The announcement comes a day after health experts called on Thailand to be more transparent in reporting the Zika threat to the public after health officials played down risks from rising infections of the mosquito-borne virus.
Health officials have expressed concern that disclosing information on Zika, which is linked to serious birth defects, would damage Thailand's lucrative tourism industry.
"Since January, we have recorded about 200 cases and over the past three weeks, we have confirmed an average of 20 new cases per week," Ministry of Public Health spokesman Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai told Reuters.
"The number of cases is stable," he said, without giving further details.
Island city-state Singapore reported its first locally infected Zika patient on August 27 and since then, the number of reported infections has soared to more than 300.
Malaysia and the Philippines have also reported cases.
The virus, which is affecting large parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, has been circulating in Asia for years.